Times are changing, especially when it comes to consumer purchasing behaviors, brand building, price sensitivity, retailing and the art of influencing consumers through “good old fashion” push advertising. All of this is happening while your best most productive and profitable consumers are clearly on the move.
According to a recent Millennial Media 2013 report, mobile access makes up 51 percent (37 percent smartphones, 14 percent tablets) of time consumers spend on retail websites or using retail related consumer beneficial apps. These consumers cloud-hunt for best pricing, savvy comparatives, editorial and social reviews as well as free shipping.
Compared to the year 2010, aggressive mobile cloud engagements have grown an astounding 285 percent. Imagine CEOs, CFOs and CMOs reviewing this critical data. Just what actions, changes, marketing direction and investments will they trigger in direct response to consumer purchasing behaviors? How do they best prepare for successful market penetration in 2014, 2015 and beyond?
The best rallying words to describe immediate restructuring chores have to be “radical, relentless, focused.”
Unlike physical stores, the Internet instantly pushes and pulls consumers from every corner of the earth. No physical boundary, no language barriers, no shortage of speed, customer service or sales determination. Instant gratification for consumers, instant measurement and profitability for merchants.
The high cost of gasoline has been replaced by the low cost of cloud access. Editorial influencers confuse with consumer reviews, blogs and postings. Okay, you already know this. But did you also know by the year 2018 over one third of global online sales will be cashiered through Asia? That today, on average, only 25 percent of Asia’s population purchases online while Europe and the USA combined currently represent 70 percent of e-commerce sales?
This means mammoth growth opportunities for USA based companies. This also means new global cloud-retail competitors will swoop into our marketplace, vacuuming up demand, share, revenues and profit.
Why is this important? Because these facts show that CMOs must be focused on the balance of e-power and e-sales for future consumer online purchasing trends. Of course the USA will continue to lead in e-commerce even in 2018. However, Asia and India’s influence,vast assimilation into our markets will suggest a change in market conditions, a reorganization of distribution as well as a shift in physical retail power and potential growth.
Investments today will deliver sustainable and competitively advantaged returns for tomorrow on a global scale. And as manufacturing costs in Asia rise, our human capital, tax burdens and cost of capital may be disadvantaged by pricing, supply and costs outside-of-country.
Already, a majority of major product brands have robust and fruitful web sites designed and expecting to gain consumer purchases on their own. Imagine if you will if these same brands decided to compete with USA channels directly from Asia based locations… imagine the cost advantage, the disruption: imagine their ability to launch globally, instantly.
Chaos or opportunity? The numbers suggest mammoth opportunity for those companies that quell marketing chaos and restructure for cloud growth. According to Forrester Research Inc’s recent research projections, American cloud shoppers will spend $327 billion in 2016, up 45 percent from $226 billion this year and 62 percent from $202 billion in 2011.
Forrester believes e-cloud-retail will account for 9 percent of total consumer sales, up from 7 percent in both 2012 and 2011 representing a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent. Forrester also reported 192 million American consumers will shop online in 2016, an increase of 15 percent from 167 million at the end of 2012. Additionally, 192 million U.S. consumers will shop online in 2016, up 15 percent from 167 million in 2012. But the bigger factor in driving e-commerce growth is that each shopper will spend more on average. U.S. consumers in 2016 will each spend an average of $1,738 online, up 44 percent from $1,207 in 2012.
To order to take advantage of future opportunities in a dynamically changing global retail and cloud marketplace, Gen One Ventures suggests four key and critical marketing areas for immediate restructuring, company investments in technology assets and human capital:
1. CMOs must immediately engage deeply with their IT peers to build a highly secure and ambient SCRM (Social Customer Relationship Management) foundation designed to gather, collect, store and mine consumer data through every step of cycle engagement. Quantitative-qualitative and predictable consumer shopping and traffic behaviors flow at unimaginable speeds with colossal scalability. Harnessing formidable unions with your CMO and CTO’s asset and investment infrastructures is the pioneering map for global cloud opportunity. Big data is certainly overwhelming for the sharpest CMO.
2. Capitalism has found a way to build formidable and lasting relationships between consumers, brands and products through social networking. Opportunity is now well defined as omnichannel presence and consumer relationships built on relevance, preference and on-time delivery from the consumers' perspective, not the brands potential life perspective. Advanced CMOs hunt and tend beyond segments and demographics providing near-perfect-data push and pull triggers in product offerings, services, content and reviews. Right moment, right location, right on time through advanced digital and social command of company assets.
3. Cross-channel, cross country and cross global technologies and infrastructures are a must have for CMOs guiding and protracting company growth. Adjusting and articulating real-time offers based on consumer wants, needs, preferences and desired locations (geo-demographics, mobile versus in-store, etc) must be embraced, tested, measured and scaled cross department integrated daily (sales, service, marketing, product management, channels, etc.)
4. A CMO’s social media disciplines (SCRM), infrastructure, initiatives and measurements should be easily shared, reviewed, measured and fueled for company cloud and in-store growth initiatives. Social technology investments are critical to build a tectonic growth orientated marketing platform muscled by mature social management, social monitoring, social pulling and social commerce with near instant high speed consumer ROI centric measurements. Consumers can no longer be “pushed around” by traditional styles of advertising. Social infrastructures today and tomorrow must be created and tuned to pull consumers into their brand stage and product offerings.
In order to advantage a newly seeded global cloud, a vast global commerce and community opportunity, it is time for the CEO, CTO and CMO to unite to deliver a highly radical, relentless and focused sales and marketing charter designed to over scale global opportunity today and certainly for many years to come. Chaos or opportunity, the right choice is very marketing clear
Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures and Author of Green Reign Leadership